As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, the In Print affiliate, Chicago Writers’ Association hosted the 6th Annual Writer’s Block Party Saturday, August 26, at the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin. I was proud to be a part of the panel featuring Jennifer Brown Banks, Marcie Hill, Becky Sarwate, and Charlie Monte Verde. Author Dan Burns was moderator.
I may have also mentioned that I was dwarfed by the knowledge of my fellow panelists when it comes to the business of social media.
Here are 5 things I learned:
1. Several of the panelists pay writers to contribute to their sites. This is beneficial to all parties–authors are reimbursed for their talents, readers are offered fresh voices, and hosts support the arts while expanding their audience. When you pay for content, you’re also paying for the readers that new content will bring. I encourage you to click on their names above and check out their websites. If you feel a connection, contact them for more information on what they are looking for and how to submit.
Each of the guests also contributes to other sites. Ideally for pay, but also for experience and exposure.
2. It’s sometimes necessary to hire help. Several of the panel members pay someone to keep their content relevant. Posting updates, responding to comments, engaging readers–the point of social media is to keep connected and when you get too busy to connect, you need to make arrangements.
We discussed financial investment in social media, how much it costs to host a website, and pay contributors or assistants. What we need to remember is that this is a business. We may write for fun, love, or compulsion, but if we hope to make any money, we also need to spend.
3. There are probably as many tools to assist with social media as there are social media outlets. Youtube, WordPress, and Google Analytics were referenced several times. In this age of connection, answers to questions are a click away and most sites are user friendly. Do not be intimidated by social media.
4. We were encouraged to use sensory material in our social media. Strategically adding visuals, video, and sounds to your posts will engage your readers on multiple levels.
5. What hit home the most for me was an early comment by Queen of the Haberdashery aka Wearer of Many Hats, Becky Sarwate. Her comment regarding time invested in social media versus actual work not only made sense but seems attainable, even for a Facebook junkie like me. She mentioned her 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of her time is spent curating content. Writing, researching, working. Twenty percent of her time is dedicated to the shilling of said content. Imagine what I could get accomplished if I limited my social media time to 20%! I accept that challenge…
Well, after I thank you for reading my daily posts on the social media panel. I hope you learned something. If I’ve sparked a thought and you’d like to share, please do so in the comments.